Breast Reconstruction Surgery (Post-Mastectomy Options):
Women may choose to include breast reconstruction surgery as a part of their breast cancer treatment. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of a mastectomy or be delayed until a later date. Dr. Hustak focuses on implant based reconstruction options and out-of-network revisions after the primary stage.
Things to consider:
- Overall health
- Details about your breast cancer (size and location of the breast cancer, extent of breast cancer surgery, additional treatments needed for your cancer like radiation or chemotherapy)
- The anatomy of breast after breast cancer surgery and amount of tissue available
- Expectations, limitations, and benefits
Two main types of operations can be done:
- Breast Implants – Silicone or saline implants, shaped versus round, Single stage versus tissue expander
- Tissue flap procedure (autologous reconstruction) – using the body’s own tissues from another part of the body to reconstruct a new breast. This can be by moving tissue with its blood supply (pedicled or free) or transferring fat alone without a blood supply for contour deformities.
These procedures are often used in combination to reconstruct a breast.
Process for Breast Reconstruction:
- If the plastic surgeon determines no expander is needed, then breast implants can be placed. The implant is usually placed behind the pectoral muscle in your chest or in front with acellular dermal matrix wraps. Some cases allow for the breast implant to be placed at the time of the mastectomy; where as, other cases require a tissue expander before the permanent breast implants can be placed. This largely depends on the amount of skin available and the size of breasts desired.
- If tissue expanders are needed, then the process take a little longer. Tissue expanders stretch your remaining chest skin, muscle, and soft tissues to make room for the breast implant. After the tissue is adequately expanded, the expander will be removed and the permanent breast implants will be placed. This usually takes 3-6 months from expander placement to permanent implant.
Dr. Hustak will prescribe you with pain medication to keep you comfortable during the initial recovery period. Long acting anesthetic pain medication will be injected into your tissues at the time of surgery to help with post-operative pain.
Following your breast reconstruction surgery for flap techniques and/or the insertion of a breast implant, gauze or bandages may be applied to your incisions.
A support bra will minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breast. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.
This is a complex surgery so it may take weeks to get back to your normal routine. Dr. Hustak will release you from any restrictions once she feels you are ready. Typically patients can return to work within 4-6 weeks and start more strenuous physical activities around 6 weeks or so.
Nipple (areola) tattooing
In addition, nipple (areola) tattooing and fat grafting can be done to help make the reconstructed breast look more like the original breast. This can be done in clinic under local as the final stage to complete your reconstructive journey.
Whether you desire subtle or more dramatic definition, Tracy has extensive expertise in helping clients achieve the look they desire to define aesthetic areas such as the eyebrows, eyelids, and lips. On the reconstructive side, she has worked with Dr. Hustak to permanently tattoo the areola after breast cancer with extraordinary outcomes and patient satisfaction. Tracy’s artistic touch has made her the trusted permanent makeup artist of choice for numerous clients throughout the Houston area. This is a wonderful adjunct to some of the surgical and non-surgical procedures that Dr. Hustak performs. Tracy sees patients at both the Memorial office and Post Oak office for your convenience.